Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - Friday, August 23, 2019 


A federal court ruling changes how the President is elected, and Florida Democrats trigger a special session vote on guns. Those stories and more in today's news.

Daily Newscasts

Supreme Court Allows Gerrymandering in Maryland

Reform efforts for gerrymandering saw a setback from Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which allowed the practice to continue in Maryland and North Carolina. (iStockphoto)
Reform efforts for gerrymandering saw a setback from Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which allowed the practice to continue in Maryland and North Carolina. (iStockphoto)
June 28, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Politicians in Maryland essentially got permission to draw voting districts to favor one party over others, as the U.S. Supreme Court decided on Thursday that federal courts shouldn't be deciding gerrymandering cases.

In its 5-to-4 decision, the high court sent cases from Maryland and North Carolina back to the lower courts, told those courts to dismiss complaints of gerrymandering and reversed a 2018 order that directed Maryland to redraw the 6th District.

The Maryland case challenged whether the district has been drawn to favor Democrats under Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, says Joanne Antoine – Maryland director of the group Common Cause.

"The claim was that Maryland violated the First Amendment when it unlawfully retaliated against Republican voters for their political expression and diluting the 6th District's lines," says Antoine.

Common Cause says voters should remain vigilant against gerrymandering. Tomorrow, the organization will host events across the country to educate people about the Supreme Court ruling and the issue of gerrymandering.

Antoine sees the ruling as a green light for state politicians to draw districts for political advantage, knowing that federal courts have no power to stop them. She says her organization will continue to fight for fairness in district boundaries, because Marylanders deserve fair elections where every vote counts.

Antoine noted that people are supposed to pick their politicians – not the other way around.

"We're hoping legislators again will work with us to establish some standards or put a commission in place that could help us draw come fair maps in 2021," says Antoine.

In response to the ruling, Common Cause also announced a new Gerrymandering Emergency Fund. Antoine says it will counter partisanship anywhere in the country that results in rigged election maps and a flawed democratic process.

Diane Bernard, Public News Service - MD